February 01, 2006

A bottled wine sauce worth using

Typically, wine is better shown off in a glass than in a sauce, but Vino de Milo makes great use of fermented grape juice. Instead of loading up his sauces with corn syrup, stale dried herbs, and the artificial stuff that passes for flavor in most store-bought sauces, Jonathan Milo Leal uses fresh vegetables, herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, and a splash of wine in his Vino de Milo Gourmet Sauces. The Mediterranean tomato sauce is thick with artichokes, olives and capers and brightened by a dose of citrusy pinot grigio; while shiraz gives the Portobello-tomato sauce a rich, warm glow and merlot warms the earthy, herbal flavors of an eggplant-rich Tuscan sauce. Check out the "simmer sauces" on a cold, hurried night: Cut up an array of vegetables and simmer with the spicy North African Pinot Noir sauce for an ersatz tagine on the fly. Not only are all the sauces free of sugar and preservatives, but Leal donates up to 10 percent of its profits to charities such as Forward Looking, which provides educational scholarships to children in Nepal, where Leal spent time growing up. Vino de Milo Gourmet Sauces, $8.49, are available at Wild Oats or vinodemilo.com.

This review first appeared in the Denver Post.

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